Probiotic foods, what they are: what probiotic foods are and how they work in our body. Difference between probiotic and prebiotic foods.
We have all heard oflive lactic fermentscontained in yogurt but only a few people know how they are able to bring benefits to our body. In addition, yogurt is not the only probiotic food, there are many lactose-free probiotic foods and therefore suitable for those intolerant to this sugar and for those who follow a vegan diet. On this page we will analyze which are and what are probiotic foods.
Probiotic foods, what they are
To answer the question "what are the probiotic foods?”We refer to the official definition issued by the FAO and the WHO.
According to the official definition of FAO (United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture) and WHO (World Health Organization), the probiotici are "live organisms that, when administered in adequate quantities, bring a benefit to the health of the host”.
THEprobiotic foodsmost popular are those that contain ilactic bacteria. Lactic bacteria, mostly represented by lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, are the most common types of microorganisms probiotics, some yeasts and bacilli can also be useful.
Lactic ferments that are commonly consumed together withyogurtof cow's milk, can also be taken with soy yogurt. Today, the food industry supplies soy yogurt with the specific addition of live and active bacterial cultures. The only drawback is that lactic ferments do not bring any benefits to the body because they die in the stomach when they come into contact withacidic gastric juices. Taking up the definition ofprobiotic foodsof FAO and WHO, are definedprobioticsonly those microorganisms that are shown to be able to exercise beneficial functions in the body! These functions are performed in the intestine ... so if the lactic ferments die in the stomach, even before reaching the site of beneficial activities, they cannot be considered probiotics.
Probiotic foods, beneficial effects on health
When it comes toprobiotic foodstoo much room is left for generalizations. The benefits cannot be traced back to any functional food (this is how probiotic foods are called) but to strains of microorganisms taken from that particular source. In this paragraph, we report the benefits associated with certain bacterial strains.
Benefits for losing weight
In obese subjects, an alteration of the microbial flora was highlighted. Along with a low-calorie and well-balanced diet, those looking to lose weight can take advantage of the benefits of probiotics taken with yogurt. As stated above, it is not necessary to buy "yogurt with live lactic ferments" because these lactic ferments are destined to die in the stomach, any yogurt will do, even better if homemade! For info: Homemade yogurt from fine or creamy.
Benefits against lactose intolerance
Lactic acid bacteria are able to convert lactose into lactic acid, thus, the intake of certain active strains can help those suffering from lactose intolerance to better digest late.
Beneficial effects on the immune system
Some probiotic strains are able to cross dialogue with the intestinal immune system, exerting beneficial effects on it. Some clinical studies have also shown that probiotics can decrease the incidence of respiratory infections.
Probiotic foods have other benefits during pregnancy and breastfeeding, help us prevent infections in the event of surgery or wounds, protect our urogenital system, help us keep cholesterol levels under control and reduce blood pressure.
Differences between probiotic foods e prebiotics
The prebiotic action is due to substances present in plant foods that are not digestible by our body, but if taken in adequate quantities they can have an effect on the intestine and stimulate the selective growth or proliferation of one or more bacterial strains already present in the intestinal tract or taken together with the prebiotic. The difference lies in the fact that with probiotic foods we directly take beneficial microorganisms for our intestine while with prebiotic foods we stimulate the proliferation of beneficial bacterial strains already present in the intestine or taken with probiotic foods.
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